London Bay Homes president and CEO Mark Wilson started his career as a day laborer in his father’s construction business. With the early morning hours, hard work, and dreary weather, Mark knew he wanted to be CEO of his own company and wanted to get there as quickly as possible. During his acceptance speech at the induction ceremony for the Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida's 2017 Business of Hall Fame, Collier County, he shared how he achieved his goals and imparted his thoughts on what it takes to succeed today in business.
Mark learned a lot from his early days in construction. He learned that the son of the boss gets stuck with the bad jobs, construction workers can and will invent a colorful new language to express themselves, and you can cook a delicious breakfast sandwich on a job site with nothing but a shovel and a small fire. What he didn’t learn on the job sites, he learned while attaining his MBA at the Manchester Business School in England and throughout his professional career when the path to his goals was set and failure was not an option. Now as a luxury home builder in Florida for nearly 30 years with more than 300 awards received for superior design and construction, Mark couldn’t leave the stage during the ceremony without sharing his 8 tips to succeed in business.
1. Learn to Focus
The easiest way to focus is to get away from distractions, specifically electronics. The average teenager spends 9 hours on the phone and the average adult spends 3 hours. Imagine what you could achieve if you spent that time doing or learning something that can benefit your future?
2. Learn to Communicate
Sending a text isn’t an ideal way to communicate. Throughout your business career, you will have to learn to communicate with people, have reason discussion, and reason arguments in a civil way. The skill of oral communication will assist in speaking with clients, co-workers, investors, and others, while the skill of written communication will allow you to draft an incredible business plan that may set the tone for your entire career.
3. Become Confident in Financial Literacy
If you are going to be a successful entrepreneur, you are going to have to learn how to follow the money. As Mark Wilson acted out on stage (watch the video!), you will have to not only show the money, but follow it. learn how to read a Profit and Loss statement and learn how to understand a Balance Sheet. Having a good understanding of finances will help you as an entrepreneur and business owner.
4. There’s No Substitute for Hard Work
When Mark first started the business, he worked 6-7 days per week to ensure he was learning everything he could and getting done what needed to be done. It takes 10,000 hours to become competent in any skill set and, for an average worker, that is 5 years of work. If you work harder and longer at the start of your career, you can cut down on that time and begin growing your business faster.
5. Learn to Negotiate
Negotiation is an art, not a science. When doing business with clients or investors, there will always be a time when you do not have the same goals in mind. Learning how to negotiate, stay calm, and come up with a compromise that’s a win/win for all involved is imperative to a successful business. If you haven’t learned the art of negotiation, Mark recommends taking a class that will teach you this necessary skill.
6. Make Sure You Challenge Yourself
Mark went on an Outward Bound adventure when he was 16 years old and learned just how far he could push himself. He says it’s important to find something outside of your comfort zone because there will be times in your business where you will have to dig deep and just knowing how far you can dig in order to achieve things can really matter.
7. Find Something You’re Really Passionate About
Life’s too short to spend it working at something about which you are not passionate. If you’re going to work 60-70 hours per week or 6-7 days per week, make sure you’re passionate about what you’re doing. At a young age, if you find yourself involved in something that you don’t really like, get out of it.
8. Work Hard and Play Hard
Mark enjoys finding time to get away from work and truly enjoy life. He believes you should work to live and not live to work. You need those times to get away from work and do something just for yourself. Find that time.
By learning these lessons throughout his professional career, Mark Wilson has been able to build some of the finest luxury custom homes and become a successful luxury homebuilder in Florida for nearly 30 years. His success stems from his hard work, determination, and his signature Private Label Living process that allows for the true luxury of a tailored fit home and a seamless, luxury homebuilding experience for every client. But most of all, he’s had fun doing it and encourages young entrepreneurs to go out and live life. Life is not a rehearsal, so go out and have fun.